evangelical lutheran church of finland

vijayaprasad-blog  asked:

Could you share your testimony?

Sure! I come from a home of unbelievers. However, the Evangelical Lutheran church is the national church in Finland and most people get baptized as babies and go through confirmation – even though they or their parents are not believers. So did I. So I learned something about God through my childhood and teenage years; but I did not believe.

The background to all of this story is that I had a very difficult childhood. Now, my parents are good people and they raised their children well. But I never felt like my mother loved me. The year I turned 5, my sister was born and we soon found that she was allergic to most things. Keeping her healthy and well fed took a lot of effort. Later that year, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. For my parents who are doctors, this was something very difficult to accept (because doctors’ kids are supposed to be healthy). Then my mother started suffering from postpartum depression and things were hard for our family.

All in all, I soon started to feel like I was more of a burden to my family. As the middle child, it was hard to get my parents’ attention. So I put standards on myself, tried to be the good child because that’s how I would get noticed: when I did things well or got good grades at school. The standards I set for myself, however, were ones no human being could actually reach. At the age of 13, I fell into depression. I started harming myself. It kept getting worse and worse until I tried to commit suicide. I was put into a psychiatric ward for 6 months because I was considered too dangerous for myself.

Through all those years, I felt like I failed people. Like I wasn’t good enough for people to love me. After I got home from the psychiatric ward, I had kind of lost hope of having people in my life who would love me. But I still kept searching for love, like I believe most of us humans do.

My brother came to Christ five or six years before me. He would share the Gospel with me every now and then; but I never listened. Until one fall, I started thinking that I should read the Bible. I have always loved reading and the Bible is the most read book in the world – so I thought I should read it. I started reading from Genesis and kept going, even though I didn’t understand much of what I was reading. But I kept going. There were some events in those fall months, where I remember thinking that there must exist a greater power, a god of sorts – but I still didn’t believe in God. That Christmas, my brother shared out of Isaiah 53. He told us what Jesus has done for us; and this was when I realized that God was real. But I wasn’t ready to give my life to Christ yet.

For a month, I kept thinking about it. Until towards the end of January 2010, I felt God call me to Him. It was a physical feeling, one that I have never felt since. I knew it was God, and I knew it was Him calling me to surrender my life to Him. I said no for a few days, then I said maybe, and after a week I was ready to give my life to God. That evening, I went to my brother and told him I believe God has called me to give my life to Him and to believe in Him. The next day, we went to church together and I have kept going ever since.

For me, though, one of the greatest blessing was the unconditional love I was able to find in God but also in my church. Finally, these people accepted me as I was and loved me, truly loved me. That is one of the things I am so very grateful for even now. :)

Tarja Halonen (b. 1943) was the President of Finland from 2000 to 2012, serving as the country’s first female head of state. She is known for her very high approval ratings (88%) and advancement of human rights, particularly LGBT rights.

She has also served as a minister and member of parliament, and was the chairman of Seta, the main LGBT rights organization in Finland. Also thanks to her, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland now accepts female priests.

snecko-my-eggo-deactivated20170  asked:

Random question. Where are you from and what's it like there?

I’m from Finland :> It’s a sparsely populated country (totally only 5.5 million) located in northern Europe, between Sweden and Russia. 

Personally, I like the place. It’s my weird little homeland and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

As a rough generalization, Finns are somewhat reserved, yet genuine, sincere and hospitable. Finns don’t do small talk and the quiet moments in conversations aren’t considered awkward. High level of education, artistry and enterprise are some of the valued traits. Domestic violence, loneliness, alcoholism and lately joblessness are relatively common problems.

The culture dates back thousands of years. It has been influenced by the Scandinavian vikings of the west and the Slavic beliefs of the east. Our folklore is deeply rooted into nature, animals and pagan myths. The Christianity made it’s way to Finland in 11th century, nowadays most of the Finns are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. From what I’ve seen, it’s all rather secular and religion doesn’t play a big part in most of people’s lives.

The capital, Helsinki, is located at the southernmost coast. Most of the largest cities revolve around the lower half of the country. The northern part is called Lapland and it used to be inhabited by an indigenous group known as Sami people, nowadays they’re considered a minority. It’s also claimed that Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi, Finnish Lapland, rather than in the North Pole.

The nature is vast, wild and unpolluted. There’s forests and lakes literally everywhere. If I’m not entirely mistaken, Finland’s fauna is slightly similar to that of Canada, just in a much smaller scale. Semi-domesticated reindeer roam around the Lapland and their meat is considered delicacy. 

We have four seasons a year. The summers are typically quite warm and the winters are freezing cold and snowy (or dark and wet if you live in the capital area, it seems). In the summertime the sun doesn’t set at all (it’s called the midnight sun) and in the midwinter it’s literally dark 24/7 (the polar night). Northern lights can be seen during the dark time of the year,

The school system is great and it doesn’t cost a penny, not even college education. I’m studying art education in an university for free. Systematical English lessons start at third grade of elementary school, so pretty much everyone can speak and understand English at least a little bit.

The size of the country certainly sets some limits, especially in the entertainment field; the animation industry is quite minuscule, for example. The gaming industry seems to be gaining momentum, encouraged by the success of the Angry Birds.

The health care system is also pretty good, it’s publicly funded and universal for all. As far as I’m concerned, you don’t need expensive insurances in order to receive decent treatment. 

Uhhh I can’t think of anything else, but do ask again if you have any further questions!